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strangefate

Tower of Iron Will

All who enter the Tower regain 100 sanity points.

Currently reading

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die
Randall Munroe, James Foreman, K. Sekelsky, Camron Miller, John Chernega, David Michael Wharton, K.M. Lawrence, Jeffrey C. Wells, Vera Brosgol, Kit Yona, J. Jack Unrau, Jeff Stautz, Aaron Diaz, Matthew Bennardo, Yahtzee Croshaw, Douglas J. Lane, Brian Quinlan, Kate Beaton

Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved

Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved: A Variant Player's Handbook - Monte Cook, Sue Cook

I had long been curious about the many role playing game supplement books that appear to be about Dungeons & Dragons but are not published by TSR or Wizards of the Coast. I finally picked this one up at a used book store because it was written by Monte Cook, who was one of the lead designers of the third edition of D&D. It turns out that back in 2000 Wizards of the Coast issued an Open Game License which allowed other publishers to publish materials specifically designed to supplement Dungeons & Dragons, under certain conditions.

 

Cook's book is halfway between an alternative players handbook and a campaign setting. Like a players handbook it includes new races, classes, spells, and such. It also sets up a setting called the Realm of the Diamond Throne with a rather detailed backstory. The Realm has some nods to the work of Stephen R. Donaldson, particularly with its giants which do not resemble traditional D&D giants. This borrowing from Fantasy authors is not surprising as old D&D drew heavily on Tolkien and to a leaser extent on Vance, Moorcock, Leiber, and Lovecraft.

 

I am sure the book would be very useful for GM's looking to supplement their campaigns with outside elements. Personally I only read these books for their entertainment value and I found this one quite interesting, especially the elaborate backstory of the giants and the dragons.